Saturday, June 27, 2009

Landscape 2: the Fence

We went board and batten because it's relatively inexpensive, fits the house, and we could build it ourselves (mostly). It starts with the footings. We had our landscapers pour the footings. They are heavy duty (2 feet deep), and doing it this way I feel good knowing that if a post ever rots it can be swapped out easily.

Al helps me set a post.

Posts all in, stained and cut to level. Once the top rail is on it'll be 6' high.

All pieces got stained before assembled. Hopefully that gives the fence a bit longer life. Here are the boards laid out on the bottom rails, ready to drop in once the top rails are routed, stained, and cut to length.


We're going to put battens on the inside as well once the landscaping is done. We also still need to decide on the gate (slab or board and batten) and put boards in at the bottom between the posts.

I'd like to thank our friends who volunteered to help us get the bulk of this up the first day. Thanks Danny B, Missi P, and BDC!

Up next, exposed aggregate concrete patio...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Landscape 1: Demo and Salvage

We're doing it, finally. The yard is getting tackled. We've completed demolition of the items that needed to come out, and saved what we could. 

Sorry pink concrete, your day has come. To those who feel it was a shame to tear this out, we had no choice. This was poured above grade and caused drainage problems for our den. It had to go. See ya!

We had it in the backyard too.

The view from the inside has changed.

These are good bricks. This is a stack I started a long time ago. The rest of the walkway bricks were pulled up and saved. We'll use them to make a new patio in the back yard, which I'll cover with a pergola hopefully this summer.

An old bottlebrush that was planted long ago too close to the house came out. The lesson here is to remember how big things can grow when you plant.

And down.

Careful with that bobcat, Carl!

Puppy on a barren landscape.

With the fence down and everything leveled, I could take a shot from the sidewalk. Our neighbor Al, an original owner, said this is kind of what the neighborhood looked like when he moved in, before all the fences and trees.

Up next, the new fence...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Master Bath Vanity

Before I get deep in it with a build out of kitchen cabinetry, I decided to test myself with a vanity for our master bath. Before this we had a pedestal sink, which was fine except it had no storage, and we are into storage these days.

I ordered the sink from ebay. It was the right size and shape for what I wanted to build. The legs are from trusty Ikea. The faucet is Hansgrohe. I used the 3/4" birch plywood for the cabinet and doors.

It starts with a plan. It was all in my head until I had the sink and legs in hand, then I could sketch out exact measurements. It was nice leaving the computer out of this project. Sorry computer.

Once again, the courtyard becomes the workshop.

You can see where I'm going here with the pulls. Doors both get a 45ยบ angle cut on the back side where they meet at the top. The panel above them gets one facing out that aligns with both the doors.

Put together. I drilled the holes for the legs before finishing it, so here's a leg test. Okay so far.

Then I dropped the sink in to make sure there wasn't a catastrophic mismeasurement. Still okay!

Now we finish. I've been working on replicating the look of aged lacquer on birch plywood. I've tried a few different things, tung oil, shellac, stains. Tung oil is okay, but seems to work better on solid woods where it can really soak in deeply. Shellac is nice, but a bit too orange. Stains have the same issue as tung oil, in that they just don't seem to penetrate or have enough effect. This time I used Minwax's Polyshades in Pecan, satin. My theory is that most of that warm amber glow on the vintage cabinetry I've seen in the neighborhood is the lacquer yellowing, not a stain or the color of the wood per say. This stuff actually has the color in the polyurethane, so the color sits on top of the wood. I like the way this took and will probably do the same thing again next time.

I used these hinges. They're full-overlay, fully concealed and flush mount. They were easy to install and close nicely.

Installed! The plumbing only took 2 trips to the hardware store. They guy helping me said it would probably take 3.

Sink and faucet.

While I had the table saw out, I ripped a couple matching shelves.